The Story of Sidonie C.

Freud’s famous “case of female homosexuality”

Ines Rieder, Diana Voigt
Translated by Jill Hannum and Ines Rieder

Ines Rieder (1954–2015), writer, activist, archivist, curator, translator, historian and internationalist.

Diana Voigt (1960–2009), scholar of German language and literature and theater arts.

Jill Hannum, freelance editor and translator, also the author of AIDS in Nepal (1997).

The Story of Sidonie C.

ISBN: 978-1-943596-12-6
378 pages, with 70 black-and-white photos, paperback
$30

Now finally available in English, this biography of Margarethe Csonka-Trautenegg (1900–1999) offers a fully-rounded picture of a willful and psychologically complex aesthete. As Freud’s never-before-identified “case of female homosexuality”, her analysis continues to spark often heated psychoanalytic debate. Margarethe’s (“Sidonie’s”) experiences spanned the twentieth century. Jewish by birth, she fled upper-class life in Vienna for Cuba to escape the Nazis, only to return post-war to a “leaden” city and relative poverty. Fleeing again, she took various jobs abroad, and returned permanently only in old age. The interviews and taped oral histories that form the basis of this book were produced during the final five of her years. Well-researched historical background information supplements the story of Margarethe’s journey across time and continents.


Leonie Puttkamer, 1919, the great love of Sidone’s life
Sidone Csillag as a young woman
At age 17, Margarethe Csonka fell deeply in love with a stunning and notorious upper-class courtesan, attempted suicide when she was rejected, and was sent by her parents to Prof. Freud to be “normalized”. The attempted “cure” was a failure.

This biography of Margarethe Csonko-Troutenegg (1900-1999) offers a fully-rounded picture of a willful and psychologically complex aesthete. As Freud’s never before identified “case of female homosexuality,” her analysis continues to spark often heated psychoanalytic debate. Margarethe’s (“Sidonie’s”) experiences spanned the twentieth century. Jewish by birth, she fled upper-class life in Vienna for Cuba to escape the Nazis, only to return post-war to a “leaden” city and relative poverty. Fleeing again, she took various jobs abroad, and returned permanently only in old age. The interviews and toped oral histories that form the basis of this book were produced during the final five of her years. Well-researched historical background information supplements the story of Margarethe’s journey across time and continents.

“The Story of Sidonie C. is more than the biography of a woman so complex she baffled Dr. Freud, it is also a biography of the twentieth century, its political disasters and social changes.”

-ANDREAS BRUNNER co-director of QWIEN (Center for Queer History, Vienna)

Praise for The Story of Sidonie C.

Sidone Csillag as a young girl

Thanks to extensive historical research and quotations from contemporary files, documents and magazines, Ines Rieder and Diano Voigt were able to create a sensitive biography of this self-confident, courageous woman, and a vivid picture of the Sigmund Freud era in Vienna and the lesbian subcultures there in the 1920s and 30s. The authors follow beautiful, aloof, upper-middle class Sidonie Csillog through the nearly 100 years of her life, from her analysis with Freud to her lost- minute flight from the Nazis, and her restless, decodes-long search for a new home ofter WWII. The Story of Sidonie C. is more than the biography of a woman so complex she baffled Dr. Freud, it is also a biography of the twentieth century, its political disasters and social changes

-Andreas Brunner, co-director of QWIEN (Center for Queer History, Vienna), is a gay activist, historian, curator and tour guide specializing in the queer history of Vienna.

You hove such shrewd eyes. I would never wont to hove you as my enemy.” As “Sidonie C.” recalled many decodes later, these were Sigmund Freud’s porting words upon ended his treatment of her in 1919 . … Her story will appeal to a brood range of readers interested in general biography, twentieth-century history, queer- and gender studies and culture studies. But especially for students of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic history, it offers a unique opportunity. It is rare for psychoanalysts to learn anything about their patients’ lives ofter they leave treatment, much less to read a full biography. The English-speaking analytic audience is now in the fortunate position of being able to pursue the development of this intriguing woman and to draw their own conclusions regarding Freud’s and Locon’s insights into her.

-Jeanne Wolff-Bernstein is a practicing analyst in Vienna, a member of the Wiener Arbeitskreis fur Psychoanalyse (WAP) and of the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PIN C). She choirs the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna, and is on the faculty of the New York University Post-Doctoral Program for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.
Sidone Csillag as an old woman

Freud worried that his clinical histories tended to read like novellas. Thanks to Ines Rieder and Diano Voigt, we ore now given the opportunity of discovering the larger-than-fiction life of Sidonie Csillog, the protagonist of Freud’s lost published case, his controversial treatment of a “young homosexual woman.” Questions left unresolved in Freud’s account find their answers when we follow the amazing life of this daring modern heroine who, Jewish by birth, fled the Nazis in her beloved Vienna to spend time in Cuba, Thailand, Spain, Brazil, Fronce, and the United States- always pursuing her wish for freedom and self-expression. The vivid details of her life history yield new keys for a revisionist reading of the psychoanalytic treatment of homosexuality.

-Patrkia Gherovki is a psychoanalyst, author of Please Select Your Gender and Transgender Psychoanalysis, among other books, and co-editor of Lacon On Madness: Madness Yes You Can’t; Lacon, Psychoanalysis and Comedy; and Psychoanalysis in the Barrios.

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